Bernal Pride Was Kind of Colorful; Kind of Jiggly

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On Sunday afternoon, Neighbor Leslie (Disclosure: your Bernalwood editor’s sweetie) went for a stroll in Bernal Heights, where she stumbled upon a rather charming neighborhood Pride Party in progress on the world-famous Lundys Landing.

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Neighbor Leslie reports there was plenty of laughter and good cheer at the scene, which was to be expected. What she did not expect was to find, however, was a very special, jiggly treat: Pride-themed Jello Shots!

Citizens of Bernalwood, this is what a proper neighborly Pride welcome looks like:

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PHOTOS: LeslieJ on Instagram

Cortland’s Sandbox Bakery Sold to Pinkie’s from SOMA

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In Japanese literature and art, the concept of  mono no aware (物の哀れ) is often central to the creative aesthetic. Mono no aware is a difficult idea to describe, but basically it represents an intimate emotional awareness of the inherent transience and impermanence of all things. So with apologies for this confessional moment, your Bernalwood editor is today struggling with his own sense of mono no aware, because Neighbor Mutsumi Takehara’s delicious Sandbox Bakery on Cortland is under new ownership.

Confirmed: Sandbox has been sold to Pinkie’s Bakery from SOMA.

In an email to Bernalwood last week, Neighbor Peter provided the tip that something was up:

Sandbox has been closed recently and word is that it has been taken over by “Pinkie’s Bakery” or something like that. At least, several of my friends have reported that the receipts now say Pinkie’s Bakery.

Is the Bernalwood News Team aware of these events?

Last weekend the Bernalwood Action News team deployed to the scene for some hungry-for-breakfast reporting at Sandbox.  The pastry selection was conspicuously meager during our visit, and there were no negi-miso croissants anywhere be seen. Anywhere. Nevertheless, we verified the basic details of Neighbor Peter’s tip: Sandbox Bakery was in fact sold, and Pinkie’s Bakery was in fact the buyer.

Later on Saturday, Bernalwood received a friendly note from the proprietor of Pinkie’s Bakery:

My name is Cheryl Storms and I own Pinkie’s Bakery on Folsom with my business partner Chris Beerman.

I just wanted to drop a line and give you a heads up that we very recently bought Sandbox Bakery.  I know there’s a tiny bit of buzz going around and I wanted to make sure I paid proper respect to the neighborhood and introduce myself before word got out too much.

Generally, we won’t be changing too much about Sandbox, other than the name and some of the products. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Pinkie’s, but our product line is much more American style; I’ve always made things that I consider comforting and delicious (my dads recipe for carrot cake, banana nut bread, apple turnovers, amazing chocolate chip cookies).

I’d like to bring many of my signature Pinkies pastries over to Cortland, and I’m keeping a lot of Mutsumi’s products as well, but many of the Japanese items are gone because I feel like those were really specific to her and her vision of the bakery.  We are also bringing in artisan breads, cakes, and a lot of afternoon treats.  We do a lot of wholesale bread and are using the kitchen overnight for our production as well.

I’m excited to serve the neighborhood and meet all of our neighbors.  I have a four month old, so I really like the family vibe of Bernal; kid friendliness and family was a big part of Mutsumi’s bakery and I definitely won’t be changing that as it becomes Pinkie’s Bakery.

The Pinkie’s Bakery Instagram account provides a visual overview of the specialties:

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It all looks sprinklicious, so please welcome Cheryl and Pinkie’s Bakery to Cortlandia!

Still, I cannot deny: I will miss those fantastic negi-miso croissants Sandbox used to make; they were a profound and wonderful thing. Yet, like the fallen petals of a cherry blossom, I realize those days have passed. In my heart I feel mono no aware, but in my mouth it tastes like umami memories of a negi-miso croissant.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Modern Druids Host Solstice Feast on Bernal Hill

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It was the kind of feast that would have made the ancient Bernal druids proud.

Last night, on the evening of the solstice, a group of very resourceful, very tasteful friends hosted a proper dinner party on Bernal Hill, complete with white tablecloths, linen napkins, and porcelain plates.

A photo analysis by the Bernalwood Culinary Observation Team reveals that the menu included a fresh garden salad with feta and asparagus, accompanied by salmon served on a bed of orzo and lemon. Spa water with fresh berries was also provided. Solstice flower crowns were a fashion essential, and of course, the view was magnificent.

Bravo and well done, people. This looks delicious.

PHOTOS: Top two by @ohappyday; Bottom, Guillaume Lebleu

Star Sighting! Videogame Pioneer Nolan Bushnell Spotted at Red Hill Station

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Famous creators of the videogame industry dine at Red Hill Station… just like us!

Neighbor Robert was on paparazzi patrol last week, and he filed this star-studded report:

It was very cool to see Nolan Bushnell, Atari founder and godfather of video games (shout-out to Pong!), at Red Hill Station last Friday night. He was in town for the Google I/O conference, and while in town he decided to dine at Red Hill Station.

Turns out his wife, Nancy, is a major LA foodie and visited Red Hill Station for dinner recently with her brother, a longtime Bernal resident. Nancy was so taken with the restaurant she made sure he paid a visit.

Nolan loved the food, the staff, the whole Bernal vibe, and when introduced to the chef, Taylor Pedersen’s eyes widened and he said he owed Bushnell a huge debt of gratitude. As a child of six, Taylor used to sing for quarters just for the chance to play Atari classics like Asteroids and Battlezone one more time.

PHOTO: Neighbor Robert

Bel, the New Belgian-Style Gastropub, Now Open on Mission

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Belgian beer lovers and moules frites fans rejoice! Inside Scoop brings the news that Bel has at last opened for business at 3215 Mission Street near Valencia. They write:

Some foods were just made to go with beer. This is nothing new to Richard Rosen and Jennifer Garris, the team behind the Mission’s craft beer and pizza joint, Pi Bar.

With the opening their brand new Bernal Heights’ gastropub, Bel, the pair are at it again — this time, tackling the beers and foods of Belgium. Located in the former Locavore space on Mission, at Valencia Street, the restaurant opened its doors Sunday night (5/25).

On the beer front, expect a range of saison, Trappist, sours and fruit beers, among others. According to Garris, of the twelve drafts, four will be dedicated to a rotating roster of Belgian beers. Also available, a variety of California-made Belgian-style brews and a bottle list of about 45 Belgian bottles. Wines will be mostly French and German. (The full drink list is online.)

Rosen’s menu, which is comprised of small and large plates, looks promising, and of course, includes an obligatory interpretation of moules frites. Other classic Belgian offerings include a Ghent-style fish chowder made with prawns, mussels and cod called seafood waterzooi and carbonades flamandes — a dish made with beef brisket and Flemish sour beer, Rodenbach. On the side, in addition to frites, you’ll find a chiffonade of Brussels sprouts and a Belgian endive gratin.

Here’s the menu.

Oh, and be advised, Bel has even installed their very own Manneken Pis. What’s a Manneken Pis? Apparently, that’s Belgian for this fella:

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PHOTOS: via Bel

Welcome to Dernal Heights, Where All The Durritos Follow Burrito Law

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These are strange days for San Francisco burritos.

On the one hand, it is the best of times: San Francisco-style burritos are more popular than ever before. Quant-geeks rate them. Big chains mass-produce them. Yet with this culinary clout comes the inevitable copycats who seek to offer San Francisco-style burritos on far-distant shores — often with mixed results. Now, in one such effort to capture the spirit of the San Francisco burrito far away from the actual tierra that provides its substance, Bernal Heights has become a casualty.

Or rather, “Dernal Heights.”

The photo you see above was taken at the newest outlet of the burgeoning Mission Burrito restaurant chain, in Brindleyplace, Birmingham, England:

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We can’t say much about the quality of the burritos from Mission Burrito (especially after so much long-distance travel), but we did notice a nontrivial problem with the big map of San Francisco painted on the wall of the new Brindleyplace location. Look just south of the Mission District on the wall map shown in this Brindleyplace store photo-montage, and you’ll see a shape that accurately replicates the outline of our own neighborhood.

But it is labeled “Dernal Heights.”

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How. Awkward.

(Note: We stand in solidarity with our urban neighbors to the northeast, who apparently live in “Retrero Hill.”)

In light of this embarrassing faux pas, and even more heinous crimes against burritodom such as this, none other than Burrito Justice, La Lengua’s rebel spokesblogger and carnitas-fueled provocateur, has taken it upon himself to codify a set of standards governing what is and is not a proper burrito:

Despite our best efforts, we are seeing escalating threats, both international and domestic, against the sanctity of burritos. This must cease.

By the powers vested in me by the City and Country of San Francisco, Junipero Serra and Febronio Ontiveros, I hereby declare BURRITO LAW:

Statute 1:
If you pull off all the foil, it is no longer a burrito.

Statute 2:
If you touch it with a knife and fork, it is no longer a burrito

We frankly cannot believe these first two statutes are necessary but that is what things have come to, folks. It is indeed an era so dark that our next statue is sadly required. Brace yourselves:

Statute 3:
If you get it outside the Bay Area, it is no longer a burrito.

That’s right people, not all cylinders are created equal. We have no choice but to implement appellation d’origine contrôlée de burrito: if it’s not made in a county that touches San Francisco Bay, it’s not a burrito. (OK, fine, Santa Cruz too. Any county that touches a county that touches the Bay. But we get to disqualify any burritos in these secondary counties. Caveat Burritor.)

These are rigid criteria, to be sure. But as the Citizens of Dernalwood, the necessity of such standards is now painfully clear for all to see. Because a durrito from distant lands is not a burrito that can be trusted to get the details right.

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PHOTOS: Mission Burrito

Red Hill Station Has Its “Check, Please! Bay Area” Moment

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Red Hill Station is one of Cortlandia’s culinary treasures, and it’s been fun to watch as the rest of San Francisco gradually figures that out.

Bernal neighbors Taylor Pedersen and Amy Reticker create some serious food magic at Red Hill, and last week the wannbe food critics of KQED’s “Check, Please! Bay Area” took Red Hill Station for a televised test drive.

In this episode, our discriminating Check, Please! taste-testers were:

  • Jeff, an epidemiologist
  • Jennifer, a belly dancer
  • Christopher, a deputy district attorney

And of course, we were joined by the glamorous host of the show, Leslie Sbrocco:

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Red Hill Station was recommended by Jeff the epidemiologist, and if you want to skip ahead to get to the Bernal part, start watching this video at around the 10:30 mark:

Don’t want to ruin the surprise, but suffice to say… Red Hill Station pretty much blew everyone away. Naturally, we knew that would happen, all along.

IMAGE: Leslie Sbrocco GIF, courtesy of Andy Welfle